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This excerpt was published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on May 27, 1994. The article by Klaus Bitterrnann's was entitled Warmongering intellectuals.

Mr. Bitterrnann quotes American reporter Ben Hecht...

Ben Hecht:

German media & propaganda in 1918


There was a report that I received from three 'sources,' a gentleman, a waiter, and a frivolous playboy. It was a report about the imminent Russian invasion. Trotsky allegedly was preparing to lead one million Bolsheviks into Germany, with the aim of reducing it to ashes and driving his Moscow hordes into France. Germany did not have an army to stop the victorious Trotsky, and the Allies, assembled at Versailles to dictate peace terms to Germany, were risking self-destruction by disarming this country. Germany was the only bulwark of defence against attempts by the East to enslave Europe.

There were two things that puzzled me about this story. First, the fact that not even the Germans who related it to me believed it. They passed on this story in a casual and waggish manner, like charlatans who have been seen through. They did not even pretend to believe it. They repeated it cheerfully, hopefully and sarcastically. It was their last weapon against the victorious Allies.

The second thing that puzzled me was that it seemed as though everyone outside Europe believed the story. For instance, my editors at the Daily News foreign news service, Charles Dennis in Chicago and Edgar Price Bell in London. They asked me to send reports on the Germans' fears of the forthcoming Russian invasion. It would seem that the Allied statesmen in Paris also believed in it. American spies in Berlin, who were gathering information for military intelligence, sent reports about Trotsky and his Bolsheviks, who were supposedly poised to swoop down on the continent.

I did not send a report on this topic, as I had been asked to do. I sent private reports to Dennis and Smith trying to persuade them that the Bolshevik invasion was nothing other than German propaganda. My knowledge was incomplete; my political acumen virtually nil, and my sources of information at that time were limited to drug addicts, nymphomaniaes, and a waiter. But the lie about Russia was so obvious that it stood out like a beacon in the fog.

I did not report on it but others did, and the lie snowballed and became the idee fixe of the Allied world, part of which had been infected by the German injection and the other part - as is typical of capitalism - by fear of the Marxist spectre which threatened their profits. This lie, which Berlin had spread so casually and cynically, led to a revival of the German infantry, German tanks, the German Luftwaffe, and, in the end, a continuation of the first war under the name of - the Second World War.

(End quote)

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Last revised: March 05, 1997